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What Is The Fijian Competition And Consumer Commission Act?

What Is The Fijian Competition And Consumer Commission Act?
Joel Abraham
September 08
10:32 2018

It is the governing Law of the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC).

The FCCC enforces this legislation together with relevant Price Control Orders (PCO’s) and Price Authorisations.

Section two of the Act outlines the objectives which include:

  • Promote the interest of consumers
  • Promote effective and efficient development of industry, trade or commerce
  • Promote effective competition in industry, trade or commerce
  • Ensure equitable returns for businesses with fair and reasonable prices charged to consumers.

How Does FCCC protect the rights of consumers?

Monitoring – FCCC monitors traders by way of inspections to ensure compliance to the prices of goods and services.

  • Complaints – FCCC receives complaints from consumers regarding unfair trade practices, false and misleading conducts, overcharging on items, expired goods being sold, increase of residential rent, no price marking/display, false and misleading advertisements, bait advertising, hoarding, price fixing, unconscionable conducts and so forth.
  • Awareness – FCCC conducts community, trader, stakeholder, village and school awareness.

This is to ensure that consumers know their rights according to the provisions of the FCCC Act 2010.

  • Self-regulating guidelines – for best practices and to educate consumers, the FCCC prepares self-regulating guidelines to set principles, guidelines, ethical practices which shall guide a particular sector.

FCCC has set the guiding principles in the following sectors:

  • Towing;
  • Texting Competitions/Promotions;
  • Landlord and Tenant; and
  • E-Commerce.

 

What do we need from you?

When lodging a Complaint with FCCC we will need the following:

  • Original Receipts – to ensure that there is validity
  • Pictures/photographs – for evidence purposes
  • Original, signed and dated agreement(s)
  • Original Invoice;
  • Original Quotation;
  • Original Authorisation letter(s);
  • Original letters or written correspondence

What happens when legal department receives a case file?

What happens in court?

*This is the usual process, however, may vary depending on the nature of the case.

Case registration – Once FCCC has collected sufficient evidence, the Legal file is prepared, charges are drafted and filed at the Court Registry.

Once the charges are filed it will be released to FCCC and it will be registered in the Legal Register.

When charges are filed the Court Registry will give a case number with the first call date.

First call – This is when the case will be called for the first time in court. The alleged accused should be present in court.

The charge or the allegation will be read out to the alleged accused.

Then the court will accord the alleged accused the opportunity to choose legal representation either to represent himself/herself or opt for a representative from the Legal Aid Commission or pay for his/her own private lawyer.

Mention for plea – After the alleged accused chooses who to represent him/her, the allegation is read out again.

The alleged accused person will then be asked whether he or she admits or denies the allegation; guilty or not guilty.

What is plea?

A plea is a formal response by the alleged accused of being guilty or not guilty.

Guilty – the alleged accused admits that he/she has committed the offence.

Not Guilty – the alleged accused denies the allegation.

 Mitigation submission

This is when the alleged accused admits to the offence and seeks courts forgiveness.

Formal proof

This is when the alleged accused fails to turn up to court after pleading not guilty.

FCCC will ask to proceed for the case to be heard without the presence of the defense.

Hearing

It is when the Court will hear evidence from FCCC witnesses and the alleged accused witnesses in order to determine whether there was a breach or not.

Also this is your opportunity as the complainant to state your case and present evidence regarding the allegation lodged.

Sentencing

When the court convicts a person as charged, the court will deliver the appropriate sentence or

punishment for the accused. The accused may be told to pay a fine or compensation or

imprisonment term or both.

Rights and obligations of complainants

  • To appear on time at the court;
  • Co-operate with FCCC;
  • Tender all necessary documents;
  • Do not withhold any information;
  • Do not give falsified allegations or documents to FCCC.

*When Summoned to appear for a hearing, paid allowances will be provided to you.

What does prosecute mean?

When a consumer lodges a complaint with FCCC, FCCC has a duty to investigate, collect evidence and analyse merits of the complaint.

Once it is established that the complaint is a breach of the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission Act 2010 (FCCC Act 2010) the legal department then files necessary charges against the alleged accused.

Why does FCCC prosecute cases?

  • To deter persons, traders and corporate bodies from breaching provisions of the FCCC Act 2010
  • Ensures that consumers are not unfairly treated
  • Offenders are punished and Ensure fairness and natural justice

Feedback:  maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

 

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